• Resurrection: Is the Dodge Dakota Really Making a Comeback?

A trademark has been filed, but it may not be used on the upcoming compact pickup truck

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Ram is the only major truck maker that doesn’t have a presence in the overcrowded midsize pickup truck market. However, it looks like that’s set to change. FCA had previously announced that it will come up with a compact truck in 2022.

People have connected the dots with the latest Dakota trademark filing and presumed that the truck will be given the moniker. However, the trademark doesn’t even specify that. While both these things are true - the arrival of a new compact pickup truck in the future and FCA filing a trademark for Dakota – they may not be connected to each other at all.

What Does The Trademark Say?

Resurrection: Is the Dodge Dakota Really Making a Comeback?
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According to The U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office, FCA has filed for the Dakota trademark under "parts for vehicles, namely, automotive exterior decorative trim" on 29 April 2020. There is a high possibility that Ram is considering a compact truck again, but it isn’t certain.

Although we can quibble over terminologies, this trademark doesn’t specifically mention “motor vehicle”. For instance, Ford filed a trademark for the yesteryear moniker, the Excursion, as well on 24 April 2020. It clearly states that it is for “motor vehicles, namely: pick-up trucks, electric vehicles, sport utility vehicles, off-road vehicles, and their structural parts.” See the difference?

Resurrection: Is the Dodge Dakota Really Making a Comeback?
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So, the Dakota trademark might not be for the pickup truck.

FCA previously said that it would bring out a new midsize pickup truck in 2022 and it will be under the Ram brand in all likelihood. However, it must also be noted that this trademark could be a simple renewal since Mopar still sells accessories for the Dakota.

If Not The Dakota, Then What Could The New Pickup Truck Be?

Resurrection: Is the Dodge Dakota Really Making a Comeback?
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Fiat Strada could be the answer.

The badge has been around for 25 years now. FCA introduced this truck in the Brazilian market last month and it checks most of the boxes to serve as Ram’s compact truck in the U.S. In fact, in Mexico, it is called the Ram 700. It will need a new mill and a lot of tweaks to cater to the American customers, but it could serve as a great option for Ram. But, given the way Ram has upped the quality of its products lately, I’d prefer a new product built from the ground up specially to cater to the customers here.

Is FCA Protecting The Jeep Gladiator By Not Introducing A Ram Compact Truck?

Resurrection: Is the Dodge Dakota Really Making a Comeback?
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While Ram doesn’t have a compact truck under its umbrella, FCA sure does – the Jeep Gladiator. The truck was launched last year with much pomp and show, but it’s not doing well in the market when compared to the competition. If FCA rolls out a new compact pickup truck, it needs to be priced competitively.

By introducing a new Dodge Dakota, the automaker won’t be able to move even the few thousand examples it’s been selling lately as it will make the already-expensive Gladiator look even more undesirable.

And, of course, it makes no sense to roll out a new compact truck with a high sticker price to protect the Gladiator.

FCA, however, has insisted that both the trucks will serve different purposes. The new compact truck will be offered as both single and quad cab with short and long boxes, whereas the Gladiator is only available with four full doors and a short bed. But people do cross-shop and the new midsize truck could cannibalize into Gladiator’s sales. Perhaps, the only solution is to reduce the prices of the Gladiator as well.

Dodge/Ram Dakota In A Nutshell

Resurrection: Is the Dodge Dakota Really Making a Comeback?
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The Dakota was a midsize pickup truck that was sold with the Dodge badge from its inception in 1986 to 2009 before ’Dodge Trucks’ was dissolved and Ram took over. In 2011, however, the truck was discontinued after a quarter-century run due to plunging sales. Call this a coincidence or a hurried decision, but FCA has arrived early to the scene and given up before it could taste real success.

Right now, the compact pickup truck market is booming and Ram doesn’t have an offering. The same happened with the performance truck as well when FCA retired the Dodge SRT-10 within three years. The good news, though, is that Ram is making a comeback to the latter segment with the Rebel TRX, and we hope it is serious about its compact truck offering as well.

Final Thoughts

Resurrection: Is the Dodge Dakota Really Making a Comeback?
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For a long time now, we’ve been hearing stuff about Ram introducing a midsize pickup truck and expanding its footprint. At this point, it doesn’t look like it will wear the Dakota badge, though. Automakers are reviving monikers from the past to add to the nostalgia and the credibility they had back then. Given that a few compact trucks like the Colorado, Tacoma, and Santa Cruz are named after places, will Ram follow the same trend? Whatever the name, it looks like Ram is set to enter the fray again to snatch its share of the pie.

Do you think Ram will use Dakota for its compact pickup truck? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Source: USPTO

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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